OBJECTIVE--To investigate systematically participation in audit of NHS hospital pharmacists in the United Kingdom. DESIGN--Questionnaire census survey. SETTING--All NHS hospital pharmacies in the UK providing clinical pharmacy services. SUBJECTS--462 hospital pharmacies. MAIN MEASURES--Extent and nature of participation in medical, clinical, and pharmacy audits according to hospital management and teaching status, educational level and specialisation of pharmacists, and perceived availability of resources. RESULTS--416 questionnaires were returned (response rate 90%). Pharmacists contributed to medical audit in 50% (204/410) of hospitals, pharmacy audit in 27% (108/404), and clinical audit in only 7% (29/404). Many pharmacies (59% (235/399)) were involved in one or more types of audit but few (4%, (15/399)) in all three. Participation increased in medical and pharmacy audits with trust status (medical audit: 57% (65/115) trust hospital v 47% (132/281) non-trust hospital; pharmacy audit: 34% (39/114) v 24% (65/276)) and teaching status (medical audit: 58% (60/104) teaching hospital v 47% (130/279) non-teaching hospital; pharmacy audit 30% (31/104) v 25% (68/273)) and similarly for highly qualified pharmacists (MPhil or PhD, MSc, diplomas) (medical audit: 54% (163/302) with these qualifications v 38% (39/103) without; pharmacy audit: 32% (95/298) v 13% (13/102)) and specialists pharmacists (medical audit: 61% (112/184) specialist v 41% (90/221) non-specialist; pharmacy audit: 37% (67/182) v 19% (41/218)). Pharmacies contributing to medical audit commonly provided financial information on drug use (86% 169/197). Pharmacy audits often concentrated on audit of clinical pharmacy services. CONCLUSION--Pharmacists are beginning to participate in the critical evaluation of health care, mainly in medical audit.
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